|Publication number||US7737942 B2|
|Application number||US 11/251,022|
|Publication date||Jun 15, 2010|
|Filing date||Oct 14, 2005|
|Priority date||Jul 6, 2001|
|Also published as||US20060033710|
|Publication number||11251022, 251022, US 7737942 B2, US 7737942B2, US-B2-7737942, US7737942 B2, US7737942B2|
|Inventors||Mark B. Bajramovic|
|Original Assignee||Bajramovic Mark B|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (23), Non-Patent Citations (1), Referenced by (4), Classifications (10), Legal Events (7)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 10/382,849, filed Mar. 7, 2003, now U.S. Pat. No. 7,057,604, which is a continuation of application Ser. No. 09/899,277, filed Jul. 6, 2001, now abandoned.
This invention relates generally to the field of peripheral computer input devices, and more particularly to a computer mouse of the type which controls cursor movement on a video display and the various “click” controls, which implement the “select” function, the “drag” function, the “scroll” function, the “page” function, and so forth.
2. Description of the Related Art
A mouse is used as a computer input device to control the location of a cursor on a video display connected to the computer. Typically, cursor location is controlled by movement of the mouse across a surface. The mouse includes a tracking device for measuring the movement of the mouse across the surface. This movement is relayed to the computer where it is translated into a corresponding movement of the cursor on the display. Several different tracking devices are known and used.
In addition, there are typically two or three buttons on the mouse for controlling switching functions. These switching functions are typically used to activate a function or command identified by the cursor location, or they can be set to control certain software features, such as highlighting in a word processor. Other mouse buttons may also be included and used to provide control for other software features such as scrolling or paging.
Many attempts have been made to design an easy to use computer mouse, which is ergonomically synchronized with the human form. Those attempts have generally been unsuccessful because the human hand comes in many shapes and sizes. Therefore, one size of computer mouse certainly does not fit all hand sizes. The result has been increasing incidents of carpal tunnel syndrome amongst mouse users as they struggle to conform their hands to the currently available designs.
The first computer mouse (the Engelbart mouse) was designed by a group of 17 researchers headed by Douglas C. Engelbart at the Stanford Research Institute in 1968. The Engelbart mouse was a handheld mobile device that used a combination of hardware and software to translate physical movements of a tracking device across a flat horizontal surface into digital signals to control movement of a cursor on a video display. Engelbart's design caused the user to orient his hand in a palm down posture on top of the mouse, with the hand and wrist arched upwardly. This hand posture proved to be the most popular amongst test groups and was the first to set the industry standard for the commercial computer mouse. The Engelbart design is used as the platform for all top selling computer mice and is the basis for many of the so-called “ergonomic” mouse product lines. Despite its commercial success, however, the Engelbart design places the user's hand and wrist in a “strained posture” (see
Repetitive stress injuries are a group of injuries occurring from a series of small repeated traumas. By themselves, none of these injuries causes permanent damage. However, when these movements are repeated hundreds or thousands of times, such as with standard mouse or keyboard movements, they often place unnecessary stress on the tendons and nerves of the hand, wrist, arm, shoulder, and neck resulting in debilitating pain, and loss of sensation. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (“CTS”) is the most common RSI afflicting computer users today. CTS results from the pinching of the median nerve within the carpal tunnel of the hand, causing discomfort and numbness. The carpal tunnel is an opening into the hand that is made up of the bones of the wrist on the bottom and the transverse carpal ligament on top. Through this opening, the median nerve and the flexor tendons pass through into the hand. When abnormal pressure is placed on this area of the wrist, such as is caused by a conventional ergonomic mouse, this area can swell, pinching the nerve.
The problem with the standard Engelbart mouse design is that it requires a user to orient his hand in an unnatural upwardly arched posture known as the strained hand posture (see
It would therefore be advantageous to design a computer mouse that required the user to keep her hand and wrist in a neutral hand posture during use, which is the posture that places the least amount of stress on the muscles and tissues of the hand, wrist, arm, and neck. In this neutral hand posture, the user's hand and wrist remain in a flatter, unarched posture, and the individual's weight is evenly dispersed between the hand, wrist, and arm. This posture minimizes the pinching of the median nerve within the carpal tunnel and allows for the greatest amount of blood flow to and from the hand by limiting the amount of flexion, extension and ulnar and radial deviation of the hand and wrist.
In addition to hand and arm strain, one major disadvantage of the conventional mouse design is that users often must spend valuable time searching their desktops to locate the mouse before using it. This disrupts the creative process and hinders both user performance and productivity.
Some attempts have been made to solve these problems by locating a tracking device, such as a track ball or a sensor pad, right on the computer keyboard, but some find these devices awkward to use and difficult to master. Moreover, such devices still require the user to remove his or her eyes from the display to find the exact location of the tracking device. This process can interrupt work flow and reduce productivity.
One solution to these problems is to integrate the functions of a computer mouse with the individual user's hand. A recent attempt to do this is described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,444,462, and 6,097,369 issued to Wambach on Aug. 22, 1995 and Aug. 1, 2000, respectively. Wambach describes a glove to be worn on a user's hand wherein the glove includes micro-switches mounted next to a joint of the index finger and on opposite sides of the wrist. The switches translate up and down movement of the index finger and side to side movement of the wrist into vertical and horizontal movements, respectively, of a cursor on a computer display. Buttons are provided on the other fingers to provide mouse clicking functions and to turn the glove on and off. These buttons are activated by the thumb. Although the device described by Wambach does not require a surface over which a tracking device must be moved, it does require a great deal of skill and considerable practice for the user to be able to control a cursor on a video display with any degree of accuracy. Further, the device must be manually activated prior to use and manually deactivated after use so that hand movements are not inadvertently translated into cursor movements on the screen while the user is typing. Moreover, Wambach's design restricts movement of the hand during operation to small movements of the wrist (side to side), index finger (up and down), and thumb (activating click buttons). This results in reduced blood flow to the hand when compared to other mouse designs which require whole arm movements.
Another recent attempt at a solution is described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,154,199 issued to Butler on Nov. 28, 2000. Butler describes a hand positioned mouse which includes a glove having a tracking ball supported in a housing attached to the side of the index finger so that the tracking ball can be operated by the thumb. Mouse buttons are positioned on the palm of the glove for activating mouse “click” functions. Transmission means are contemplated for sending signals corresponding to tracking ball movement to the computer. However, Butler makes no provision for using a tracking device that includes an optical sensor or for using a tracking device in contact with a surface. Moreover, Butler's tracking device and mouse “click” buttons do not automatically turn “off” when not in use to permit typing, and do not automatically turn “on” again when required for moving the cursor and performing mouse “clicking” functions. Butler's device also does not include “scrolling” or “paging” functions. Further, Butler's design restricts movement of the hand during operation to small movements of the thumb and fingers required to activate the tracking device the mouse click buttons. This results in reduced blood flow to the hand when compared to other mouse designs which require whole arm movements.
From the above, it is clear that there is a need for a more ergonomically efficient mouse design to reduce or prevent injury and to improve productivity and performance.
Briefly summarized, the main object of the present computer input device is to overcome the above shortcomings by providing a computer mouse on a glove to be worn by a user, which includes a tracking device for controlling cursor movement on a video display and one or more switches for controlling mouse “click” functions.
A further object of an embodiment of the present computer input device is to provide a computer mouse on a glove to be worn by a user, which will permit the user to type on a keyboard with all fingers while wearing the glove.
Another object of an embodiment of the present computer input device is to provide a computer mouse on a glove to be worn by a user, which will automatically activate when the tracking device is in contact with a surface and the user desires to move the cursor or use the mouse “click” functions, and will automatically deactivate when the user wishes to resume typing.
Yet another object of an embodiment of the present computer input device is to provide a computer mouse on a glove, which is adjustable to the size of a user's hand and includes padding to minimize user strain and maximize performance.
Another object of an embodiment of the present computer input device is to provide a computer mouse on a glove, which includes buttons to permit a user to control up and down scrolling and paging functions without having to remove the user's hands from the computer keyboard.
A further object of an embodiment of the present computer input device is to provide a computer mouse on a glove that is positioned during use so as to allow the user's hand to be in a neutral hand posture and/or assists the user's hand and wrist into a neutral hand and wrist posture during operation so as to reduce stress and strain on the muscles and tissues of the user's hand, wrist, arm and neck.
According to one aspect then, there is provided a computer input device, comprising: a glove like apparel to be worn on a user's hand, the glove-like apparel having a fitting for at least one digit, the glove-like apparel comprising a stretchable material positioned to overlap extensor tendons running along a dorsal side of the user's hand and a dorsal side of the at least one digit of the user's hand, wherein the at least one digit fitting is designed to be anchored around a terminal area of the at least one digit and the glove-like apparel is designed to be anchored around the user's wrist area, whereby the user's hand is assisted in maintaining a neutral hand posture during use; a tracking device attached to the glove-like apparel to generate movement signals in accordance with movement of the tracking device across a surface; a pressure plate attached to the glove-like apparel, the pressure plate designed to generate switching signals; and a transmitter attached to the glove-like apparel for transmitting the movement signals and the switching signals, wherein the movement signals are for controlling movement of a cursor in a video display of a computer and the switching signals are for controlling mouse clicking functions.
According to a further aspect, there is provided a computer input device, comprising: a glove-like apparel to be worn on a user's hand, the glove-like apparel having a fitting for at least one digit; a tracking device attached to the glove-like apparel to generate movement signals in accordance with movement of the tracking device across a surface, a pressure plate attached to the glove-like apparel, the pressure plate designed to generate switching signals; and a transmitter attached to the glove-like apparel for transmitting the movement signals and the switching signals, wherein the tracking device and the pressure plate are positioned so as to require orientation of the user's hand into a neutral hand posture during use, and wherein the movement signals are for controlling movement of a cursor in a video display of a computer and the switching signals are for controlling mouse clicking functions.
According to yet another aspect, there is provided a computer input device, comprising: a glove-like apparel to be worn on a user's hand; a tracking device attached to the glove-like apparel to generate movement signals in accordance with movement of the tracking device across a surface, a pressure plate attached to the glove-like apparel, the pressure plate designed to generate switching signals; and a transmitter attached to the glove-like apparel for transmitting the movement signals and the switching signals, wherein the glove-like apparel comprises a palm area, the palm area having padding located generally over the thenar eminence and/or the hypothenar eminence of the user's hand, whereby the carpal tunnel area of the user's hand is elevated above the surface during use and pressure on the carpal tunnel area of the user's hand is minimized, and wherein the movement signals are for controlling movement of a cursor in a video display of a computer and the switching signals are for controlling mouse clicking functions.
Several advantageous features of the applicant's computer mouse on a glove are as follows:
Further objects and advantages of the applicant's computer mouse on a glove will be apparent from the following description and the appended drawings, wherein preferred embodiments are clearly described and shown.
The applicant's computer mouse on a glove will be further understood from the following description with reference to the drawings in which:
Referring to the drawings,
It will be appreciated by the reader that the particular configuration of input device 10 shown in the Figures is for illustrative purposes only. Depending on user preference, tracking device 24 and pressure plates 26, 27 may be interchangeably attached to the fittings for either of index finger 18, middle finger 20, ring finger 22 or thumb (see
Any reference in this application to fingers and/or digits shall include the thumb. Accordingly, as shown in
Glove 14 can be made in various sizes, such as small, medium and large, to fit various sized hands, either left or right. Glove 14 is composed of a lightweight durable fabric having the ability to conform to the user's hand. Any suitable fabric can be used so long as it is lightweight, durable and will stretch to accommodate various sized hands. Preferably, the exterior of glove 14 will be constructed to include areas of low-friction fabric located to facilitate movement of glove 14 over surface 50. Examples of suitable fabrics include composite fabrics such as:
1) 79% nylon and 21% Lycra™ spandex;
2) 78% polyamide and 22% spandex; or
3) 5% cotton, 36% polyester, and 59% Lycra™.
The overall thickness of the fabric will preferably be between 0.8 mm and 1.4 mm to maximize both durability and flexibility while minimizing weight. Strap or brace 16 secures glove 14 to the user's wrist and can be any suitable adjustable fastening device such as Velcro™ straps, hooks and eyelets, or a button/clasp mechanism. All of these features permit the computer input device 10 to be comfortably fit to an almost limitless range of hand sizes.
The strategic positioning of the tracking device 24 and the pressure plates 26, 27 in a downward facing position on the thumb and fingers as shown particularly in
As shown particularly in
Strap or brace 16 may serve two functions. First, to anchor glove 14 around the wrist area, thereby combining with the anchor point 90 around the distal phalanx and the stretch material of the glove to maintain the hand in a neutral hand posture, and second, to limit the flexion and extension and the ulnar and radial deviation of the wrist, to thereby assist in maintaining the wrist in a neutral wrist posture. The second function may be carried out by a separate strap or brace 16 that does not necessarily also serve to anchor glove 14 around the wrist area, but does serve to assist in maintaining the wrist in a neutral wrist posture by limiting the flexion and extension and the ulnar and radial deviation of the wrist.
Referring now to
In the alternative, the reader will appreciate that a micro roller-ball could be used in place of optical sensor 42 for measuring movement of tracking device 24 over surface 50 and for generating an electrical movement signal corresponding to that movement. A micro roller-ball would operate in a manner similar to the roller-ball systems used in the traditional desktop computer mouse. Rotation of the roller-ball, resulting from contact with surface 50, is picked up by sensors within the tracking device, which produce an electrical movement signal or pulse corresponding to the rotation.
Tracking device 24 is preferably designed so that it automatically turns “on” when placed in contact with surface 50 and automatically turns “off” when contact with surface 50 is interrupted. This can be accomplished using a small micro-switch (not shown) located on the bottom of base plate 40 or internally, or by optical sensor 42, which can be configured to turn tracking device 24 on/off when moved a certain predetermined distance from surface 50. This is illustrated in
It can be seen from
In a preferred embodiment of the applicant's computer mouse on a glove, central scroll/page button 32 is used as a switch to alternate the function of scroll/page buttons 32, 34 between scrolling and paging. Scroll/page buttons 33, 34 control up and down scrolling and paging functions, respectively, depending on software and the position of scroll/page switch 32. One advantage of scroll/page buttons 32, 33, 34 is that a user does not have to remove his/her hands from the keyboard to activate and control the scrolling or paging features, nor does the user have to make contact with any surface to engage the scrolling features. Depending on user preference, the functions of scroll/page buttons 32, 33, 34 are completely interchangeable so that either button may act as the switch button while the other two buttons function as scroll/page up/down buttons.
In operation, a user fits glove 14 of computer input device 10 on either the left or right hand, depending on the configuration, and secures it to the wrist with strap or brace 16. Tracking device 24 and pressure plates 26, 27 are positioned just behind the finger tips. User preference will determine on which finger fittings each of the pressure plates 26, 27 and tracking device 24 are attached. If tracking device 24 is located on the fitting for the thumb, it may be positioned farther back of the thumb tip as shown in
The present computer input device 10 is supported by software, which must be installed on the computer to which device 10 is attached. The software will permit full customization of all features of the applicant's computer mouse on a glove. For example, sensitivity of cursor movement could be adjusted in the software from fine to coarse depending on user preference and needs. Mouse “right click” and “left click” functions, controlled by pressure plates 26, 27, could be interchanged depending upon user preference. In addition, the functions of scroll/page buttons 32, 33, 34 could be selected according to a user's needs or preference. Preferred settings selected by different users could be saved to permit easy interchange of the applicant's computer mouse on a glove between users.
The above is a detailed description of particular preferred embodiments of the applicant's computer mouse on a glove. Those with skill in the art should, in light of the present disclosure, appreciate that obvious modifications of the embodiments disclosed herein can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the applicant's computer mouse on a glove. All of the embodiments disclosed and claimed herein can be made and executed without undue experimentation in light of the present disclosure. The full scope of the applicant's computer mouse on a glove is set out in the claims that follow and their equivalents. Accordingly, the claims and specification should not be construed to unduly narrow the full scope of protection to which the applicant's computer mouse on a glove is entitled.
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|U.S. Classification||345/156, 345/157, 345/158|
|Cooperative Classification||G06F2203/0331, G06F1/163, G06F2203/0335, G06F3/03543|
|European Classification||G06F3/0354M, G06F1/16P5|
|Jul 27, 2007||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: THE DEANMARK CORPORATION,CANADA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:BAJRAMOVIC, MARK;REEL/FRAME:019615/0811
Effective date: 20070705
|Apr 27, 2010||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: DEANMARK LTD.,CANADA
Free format text: CORRECTIVE ASSIGNMENT TO CORRECT THE COMPANY NAME PREVIOUSLY RECORDED ON REEL 019615 FRAME 0811. ASSIGNOR(S) HEREBY CONFIRMS THE COMPANY NAME;ASSIGNOR:THE DEANMARK CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:024295/0212
Effective date: 20070705
|Apr 28, 2010||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: BAJRAMOVIC, MARK,CANADA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:DEANMARK LTD.;REEL/FRAME:024302/0246
Effective date: 20100423
|Oct 18, 2010||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: DEANMARK TECHNOLOGIES LTD., CANADA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:BAJRAMOVIC, MARK;REEL/FRAME:025150/0054
Effective date: 20100927
|Jan 24, 2014||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Jun 15, 2014||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|Aug 5, 2014||FP||Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee|
Effective date: 20140615